May College Readiness Tips For College Advocates

Now more than ever, we need to help counselors and schools prepare our students for college. Join our group of lay-college counselors, aka high school teachers, with these 12 May 2012 tips. Use TAs and seniors to help you.

  1. Develop a college readiness area in your classroom.
  • Post deadlines for testing, summer programs, and major scholarships. Remember to order enough fee waivers as kids can take each test twice for free.
  • Friday, May 4 is the deadline to sign up for June 9th ACT
  • Tuesday, May 8 is the deadline to sign up for June 2nd SAT and SAT Subject Tests
  • Saturday, May 5 is the current test day for the SAT. Kids can try to walk in if they must.
  • Post posters of major tests. You can contact the College Board for SAT deadlines and the ACT for ACT deadlines
  • Post pictures of former students at their colleges.
  • List names of the colleges your former students have attended.
  • Feature different colleges each week or month.
  1. Ask current college students who are just now returning for the summer to speak at your school.
  • With seniors-they can talk about getting ready to start college.
  • With juniors-they can talk about getting ready to apply and find financial aid and scholarships.
  • With younger students-they can talk about being serious in school and getting active in and out of school.
  • With parents and teachers-they can talk about why college is awesome and provide some useful tips for surviving    and thriving in college.
  1. Put up a college board of your own college years. Post pictures, a copy of your diploma, and some memorabilia. Contact your college to send you free stuff.
  2. Begin to collect books about college readiness. Start with

The Fiske Guide          • College Finder  •College Board’s Book of Majors

CSO’s College Access and Opportunity Guide [1]

  1. Make college awareness and readiness websites as favorites on your classroom computers. Some great ones to start with…The College Board. ACT. Unigo. Cappex, Center for Student Opportunity, CSU Mentor, Hispanic College Fund, Latinos in College, and my site: Get Me To College
  2. Collect lists of colleges that offer fly-in programs for under-represented students and provide some kind of major aid to undocumented students. I have these lists if you want them.
  3. Please, please find free or reduced cost SAT/ACT readiness workshops in your community. These are desperately needed for your students.
  4. Participate in online workshops with your students. College Week Live has ongoing free workshops, online college fairs, and so much more.
  5. Find college fairs for your students to visit. NACAC comes to cities around the country. So do other groups of colleges. Columbia, Brown, Rice, Cornell, and University of Chicago travel around the country.
  6. Begin to book colleges to visit you next year. Find out if local colleges will send outreach programs and students to your school.
  7. Sign up for college information tips.
    • The UCs have a counselor newsletter you can receive.  They have all kinds of free guides as do the CSU’s.
    • Unigo sends out expert advice daily.
  8. Use FB. If you have a teacher FB page, like as many college readiness sites as possible. My college name is getmetocollege freeadvice. CSO, Hispanic College Fund, Latinos in College, California Dream ACT, Undocumented Students, AB 540, and hundreds of colleges have pages.  Have your students friend me as well.
  9. Develop college readiness links into your lessons. For example, use California Reality Check to help students see links between occupations, income, and college.
  10. Help seniors planning to go to community college get ready. It’s the toughest year yet to go to community college. For example, help them understand how to afford textbooks or find programs to help them transfer. is a great program for kids interesting in transferring to UCLA. Deadlines are this and next month for high school seniors and current CC kids.
  1. There are still scholarships available for seniors. Each college has alumni scholarships and there are many non-profits with deadlines.
  2. Don’t forget major scholarships for kids. POSSE deadlines are soon-Mid to late May. This is an amazing scholarship for under-represented kids in key cities. Yet, remember, it only covers tuition. Kids have to find other aid to cover the rest. You need to become a nominator.
  3. Contact Dr. Joseph to see if she can offer free workshops or connect you with folks who can.

Five Fun College Facts:

1. Kids can take each test-SAT, ACT, and/or SAT Subject Tests- for free if they qualify for fee waivers. Legal status does not matter. They must qualify for free or reduced lunch and get waiver from counselors or non-profits.

2. After this year, seniors can take the SAT in the fall in October, November, and December. The ACT is offered in September, October, and December. The UCS are no longer requiring SAT Subject Tests but they are required still for top private colleges and can help with others.

3. The California Dream Act passed. As of January 1, 2012, students can now qualify for private scholarships at CA public colleges . Starting next January students can qualify for Cal Grants and California Community College Board of Governor Fee Waivers. Some go into effect January 1, 2013 and others for the 2013-2014 school year. This year, there is a new online financial aid application students can use instead of FAFSA.

4. The UCS are requiring kids to complete 11/15 A-G requirements by end of the summer before senior year. So juniors need to clear failing grades this summer or through Adult School by November.

5. Low-income students can apply to four UC campuses for free (including AB540 students), four CSU campuses for free (not yet for AB 540 students), and unlimited private colleges for free (including AB 540 students).


Remind them they must

  1. submit their Statement of Intent to Register May 1.
  2. keep in contact with any waitlisted colleges.
  3. finalize financial aid forms, including submitting the California Dream Act application by May 10.
  4. pay for housing and arrange for orientation programs.
  5. complete placement tests-for CSUs, UCs, Community Colleges, and others.
  6. sign-up for summer bridge programs. They fill fast. USC has an amazing program for kids accepted to top four year colleges. Unfortunately, they always post late, and we just missed this year’s deadline. Perhaps, you can contact them and ask for an extension for top kids.
  7. fulfill preliminary remediation requirements as stated by each CSU campus before enrolling in the fall.

[1] (lists colleges that offer major support to first gen kids and even comes with lesson plans how to use the book.



About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

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